In the fall of 1965 my parents, Bruce and June Taylor, were stationed at Nuclear Sub School in New London, Connecticut. They had been married just over a year and invited another Navy couple over for dinner. I doubt that they had any idea that 53 years later, that night would be the birth of the first day of the rest of my life. Gary and Joyce Zech accepted my parent’s invitation and said that they would bring the food. That they had a great dinner planned. Something that their family enjoyed regularly. On that evening in 1965, the Zechs introduced my parents to tacos. Not many realize that tacos were relatively unknown, especially on the east coast at that time. The dinner consisted of canned El Paso tortillas and bottled salsa. The recipe remains relatively the same as it was then. My parents enjoyed dinner so much, they immediately injected the dinner into their rotation. My dad then was stationed in Charleston, SC, from June of 1966 to September of 1969. Because he was at sea and my brother had been born in March of 1967, nothing was consistent. In March of 1971, my parents settled in Gainesville, FL, while my dad worked on his doctorate, and Taylor Tacos were served every Friday night. They finally had a routine in their life. Friday was payday. Mom and dad would deposit the pay check, take the $100 they had budgeted for two weeks worth of groceries, then come home and cook Taylor Tacos. It was around 1974 that my dad was fed up with the lack of any decent salsas and set out to make his own. (Please take a moment of silence for this epiphany. The world is a better place with the Bruce Juice!) The tradition steamrolled ahead.
Around 1990, Taylor Tacos moved to Sunday night. I remember growing up that my grandmother, my brother and his friends, my parents’ friends, and of course I could invite a friend would all gather on Sundays at the house. On any given Sunday we would have between 8 to 15 people gathered for tacos. Each person was tasked with a job – dice the peppers, cut up the tomatoes, slice the olives, and my absolute favorite, grate the cheese. Imagine if you can, Thanksgiving gatherings every Sunday. The legend grew of Taylor Tacos through my college days and even at my rehearsal dinner where my parents cooked for 50. I will never forget finding a long lost college friend on Facebook after a 20 year absence and her first question was, “Are your parents still making Taylor Tacos?!” I have spent the last three years with my partner in crime, Brad, to do my best at recreating what my parents started. It is more than a taco. It is more than salsa. Are they amazing? Absolutely! But, what I bring to you is my family tradition. I bring to you years of memories. My hope is that you taste all of the love and laughter and tears and joy that has gone into this. I assure you that if you close your eyes as you take that first bite, you will feel it in your toes! Everyone does.